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John August and Peter Segal Adapting 'Shazam!' with Captain Marvel

by
March 10, 2007

Shazam!News from Hollywood Reporter yesterday announced that well-recognized screenwriter John August has been officially hired by New Line Cinema to write an adaptation of the DC comic book Shazam! for Peter Segal (50 First Dates, The Longest Yard) to direct. The comic focuses on Billy Batson, a teenager who becomes the superhero known as Captain Marvel when he utters the magic word "Shazam!" and a lightning bolt strikes him and turns him into an adult superhero. The whole Shazam! series has a long history, initially becoming the most popular superhero in 1940.

If you're like me and unfamiliar with Shazam!, and still chuckling at the name, it actually is an acronym for six gods and heroes of the ancient world and their attributes: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Aries, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. August commented on this opportunity, and it sounds like he is very enthusiastic about the project.

"It's a unique opportunity to do a comic book movie where the character in it actually read comic books," said August, who has started writing the script. "What's terrific about the character is that he looks like this superstudly superhero but is really a 13-year-old boy. And to approach everything that is great about a superhero movie from a 13-year-old boy's perspective was a unique way in."

And another great step in the right direction from August is simply taking the time to work closely with the comic's original writer.

August sat down with noted DC Comics writer Geoff Johns for "idiot checking," making sure the filmmakers' approach to the character was consistent with what fans love about him. "I think we're going to be able to be really faithful to the mythology and yet make it completely transparent for people who have no idea who the character is," August said.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Or better question, is there anyone really familiar with the Shazam! comics?

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  • I'm definitely looking forward to a Shazam movie. There was a horrible (now) TV show that warped the idea in the 70's, with Billy travelling around in a Winnebago saving people by turning into Captain Marvel. The original idea was that teenaged Billy worked for the WHIZ radio station as a reporter. Geoff Johns is the premier DC Comics writer these days, so I'm glad he's consulting on the movie.

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